It occurred to me as we approach this auspicious day of remembrance that my country has been in some war or another since 1950 when I was still a boy, so to speak, with already two years of playing soldier for the government that was required to fulfill our requirement of military duty for that time, which lasted until 1955.
We often hear the phrase, "Let us not forget." Alas, let us not forget that this country was at war from 1941 through 1945, with a scant five years of relative peace and quiet, to be followed by 61 years more of war until the present day, with no end in sight.
This would be a good time and place to upload some appropriate illustrations relating to the glory of killing, maiming and destruction.
Dean Cornwell's Kia Ora CocaCola ad with a bogus USA first sergeant showing off an unlikely tattoo where his chest hair would be. The carvings must be Maori but the gentleman on the right doesn't resemble most of the Maoris I observed in New Zealand.
This and the following art was found on the website of the the War Art archives of New Zealand. Many thanks to them for creating such a wonderfully poignant collection.
George Edward Butler, A roadside cemetery near Neuve Eglise, April 1917
Claude Shepperson, Aboard a Hospital Transport, 1917
Louis Raemakers, French cavalry in rain, c.1914- c.1918
In the Massachusetts mill town in which I grew up, this day of sad remembrance was also called Decoration Day by older inhabitants. I remember as a boy seeing my first Memorial Day parade in which white-haired and bearded Grand Army of the Republic Civil War veterans waved to the crowds while seated in open Packard four-door phaetons. They were followed by marching Spanish-American war veterans clad in ugly khaki uniforms, stepping to the familiar refrain, There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight, and followed by similarly attired but much younger World War I survivors with their own marching bands playing the very familiar tunes 'Til we meet again, and Over There.
George Edward Butler, The Battle of Polygon Wood, c. 1916-1918
[Third Battle of Ypres/Battle for Passchendaele]